It’s the holiday season, which means you’re probably being inundated with “gift guides” from all across the internet, but have you ever noticed that gift guides are for everyone in your life…except you? I have good news, this is not a gift guide for other people, this is a gift guide for you! Although I love this time of year and love giving gifts even more, I don’t think we ever really stop and think about the gifts we should give ourselves.
The idea for this post came to me while driving to therapy the other day. I actually started writing an “unconventional holiday gift guide” at the beginning of December, but really struggled writing it. I kept coming back to it, but it just didn’t feel like “me”. I was feeling a little defeated because a lot of other bloggers were churning out their gift guides left and right, but there I was…stuck and uninspired. But, it was on that magical car ride to therapy that I decided that a traditional gift guide wouldn’t do for me and that’s when the idea for this post was born.
This post doesn’t contain material gifts, but instead contains mental, emotional, and spiritual gifts. I wrote this post for you, that’s right, you reading this. 🙂 I wrote this blog post because in the season of giving, we can’t forget to give to ourselves. Take one or all of these gifts, the choice is up to you, but don’t forget to check yourself off your holiday gift list this year and every year in the future! 🙂
noun\ kəm-ˈpa-shən \ sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it
If you’re like me, you give out compassion to others like it’s your job but don’t seem to keep any for yourself. This holiday season I want you to look at your life like you would a friends life. I want you to step back and think, “if my friend was feeling and experiencing these things, how would I show them compassion?” Then show yourself that compassion. I didn’t ever think about showing myself compassion until it came up in a therapy session one day. My therapist prompted me with the same situation- treating my circumstances as someone else’s and seeing how I would show them compassion.
This time of year can be rough for a variety of reasons- maybe it’s remembering a family member who’s no longer here, being far away from family, recovering from an eating disorder, or the stress of buying everyone the “perfect” gift. So don’t forget to show show yourself compassion and nurturing, just the way you would show compassion to a friend.
noun\ ˈrest \ peace of mind or spirit
Over the last few years I’ve been adding some serious rest to my holiday season. I used to get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season that I put rest on the back burner- this eventually lead to me being burnt out and overly exhausted. I had to take a step back and recognize that I needed to carve out some serious time for rest. This meant sleeping in, going to bed early, and simply taking time to sit on my couch to chill. I know some of you reading this might think, “but Becca, I can’t rest, I have 100 million things to do!” To that I say, “you may 100 million things to do, but they can’t be done if you’re not rested.”
I don’t know about you guys but when my brain is deprived of rest I can’t think straight- my mind is foggy and I’m not fun to be around. So if you’re like me and need to rest, let this be your permission slip- giving you the go-ahead to get the rest you deserve this holiday season. You’re in no way a “bad” person for wanting to sit down or take a nap after making cookies all day or sleeping in when you have company in town. Although those are fun and exciting activities that come along with this time of year, don’t forget that you’re allowed to take time for yourself. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty glass, so fill your glass with rest and not only will you benefit from it but others will too!
noun\ ˈkre-dit \reliance on the truth or reality of something
During this time of year we can go things so quickly that we forget to give ourselves credit for anything. I want you to take a few minutes and write down some things you’ve accomplished during the holiday season so far. Whether it’s building a gingerbread house with your family, doing your laundry, getting all your holiday shopping done, showering, going grocery shopping or making cookies for your neighbors- give yourself credit for getting things done both holiday and non-holiday related!
Because goodness knows that nothing during the holiday season is easy- between compiling your gift list, wrapping said gifts, coordinating travel plans, and keeping up with daily tasks, the holiday season is anything but easy and carefree. So take a step back and give yourself credit for even the smallest things– like writing an email or doing a load of laundry. You’ll be surprised how giving yourself credit for even the smallest things will change your mindset and put a little pep in your step.
noun\ in-ˈjȯi-mənt , en- \ something that gives keen satisfaction
Woo baby, this is one of my favorite gifts to give myself! Even though this should be the most enjoyed time of the year I feel like people seldom stop to actually enjoy it. This is the time of year we get to spend time with family, friends, cozy up by a fire, give meaningful gifts, drink hot cocoa, and decorate- so why wouldn’t we enjoy that?
I can tell you from personal experience that in the past I wasn’t able to fully enjoy the holiday season because of all the barriers and rules I created for myself. Now, your barriers may not be food and exercise related like mine were, but barriers are barriers no matter what they are. I would like to challenge you to try and break down those barriers, whatever they are, so that you’re able to enjoy this wonderful time of year. But first you need to ask yourself, what does enjoyment mean to me?
Does enjoyment mean having a cookie bake off with friends? Does it mean cozying up by the fire with a cup of hot cocoa and reading a new book? Does it mean having a cheesy Christmas movie marathon? Does it mean piling your whole family in the car and driving around to look at Christmas lights? Does it mean cooking a yummy and nourishing meal for your family and friends? Does it mean volunteering your time for a local charity? Whatever enjoyment looks like for you, do it and enjoy it!
Enjoyment is different for everyone, but this holiday season I challenge you to discover what you truly enjoy- not just pretending to enjoy things for the sake of other people (aka me drinking egg nog- I will just never like it…yuck). If it helps, make a holiday enjoyment “bucket list” and check the enjoyment boxes off as you go!
noun \ ˈləv \ the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration
During the holiday season we give out a lot of love to people- but what about the love we give to ourselves? Just like compassion, I’m constantly finding myself dishing out love to others, but none of that love is going to myself. I know this may sound a little strange, but do you want to know what I do when I give myself love? I tell myself “I love you”. I stand in a mirror and say the words out loud. Sometimes I say it once, sometimes I say it 10 times, but I always end with a big self hug. Wrapping my arms around my body and squeezing tight.
I also like to write love notes to myself. It makes me laugh because it brings me back to my elementary school days when I’d write letter to my crushes. Naturally, I was too terrified to actually send them, but the act of writing my admiration down made me feel great. Writing has always been a way for me to get my feelings and ideas out (if you couldn’t already tell from this blog 🙂 ), so it made so much sense to me to continue the act of love letter writing, but instead of writing to the boys I dreamt about I wrote to myself. I know this may sound silly, but I always say, “don’t knock something until you try it!” 🙂 So try it and let me know what you think! If you’re having trouble starting a letter, let me help- “Dear (insert your name here), I love you- and here’s why…..”
That’s all she wrote…
So there you have it, a non-traditional holiday gift guide of sorts! 🙂 I hope you found this post helpful and give yourself some non-material gifts this holiday season, because you are so so worth it!
Do you give non-material gifts to yourself? What are your favorite gifts to give yourself?
Have something you’d like me to write about? Let me know here!